Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Writers' Wednesday: An Interview with Delia DeLeest

Welcome to another Writers' Wednesday! Today I'm featuring historical romance author Delia DeLeest. Sit back, relax, and enjoy!

Hi Delia, and thanks for being here today! Can you tell us a little about your background?

I was born and raised in Wisconsin, but moved to Hawaii two years ago. I'm still a Midwest girl at heart though, and all my stories, for the most part, are set in America's Heartland. Just about everything I write is set in the 1920's. Chicago and the surrounding areas were so exciting during that time that I just don't have the heart to write in any other location.! I love the time period of the 1920s, too. So when did you first begin writing? Was there an event or moment in your life that triggered your desire to write?

I'd always loved to write, but my handwriting is so bad that I could never read what I'd written! Then, right around the same time my youngest child started school, my husband did a computer upgrade and gave me his old laptop. I curled up with it one day in my big ol' La-Z-Boy recliner and started writing my first manuscript-a western. About four months later, I saw an old gangster movie set in the Roaring Twenties and my mind just started spewing out story ideas like a slot machine spits quarters and I knew I found my niche.

Tell us about your latest writing project or published title It Takes Moxie, the second story set in the Twenties that I've written has been released digitally and is available at The Wild Rose Press.

It was supposed to be simple. Moxie Hamilton was going to kidnap an unsuspecting driver just long enough to get to an out-of-town train station and buy a ticket to Chicago. She didn't factor in the stolen diamonds, being chased by a gun-wielding thug, or falling in love with her kidnap victim. The last one was probably one of her worst ideas, especially since she had a fiancé waiting for her in Chicago. Getting kidnapped wasn't high on Ben Kincaid's list of things to do, but that didn't stop Moxie from pulling a gun on him and ordering him to take her out of town. From the steamy heat of St. Augustine, Florida to the crime-ridden streets of prohibition Chicago and everywhere in between, Ben and Moxie leave a trail of chaos in a cross-country caper that will change their lives forever.

Currently, I'm working on a sequel, tentively titled Moxie to the Rescue. Eye of the Beholder, written after I fell in love with Gerard Butler as The Phantom of the Opera, is due to be released early 2008.

It Takes Moxie sounds like a great story! What advice would you give to new writers just starting out?

Don't write to the market, write what's in your heart. I started writing at a time when everyone said the historical romance market was dead, and to write a historical in such an unusual time period was pretty much the kiss of death. But that didn't stop me because I love the Twenties and can't work up any kind of enthusiam for writing in any other time period. My love for the era shows up in my writing and I think people can see that. A good story will sell, regardless of genre, if you only believe in it and in yourself.

That's such good advice. So can you describe your writing space for readers?

I've got what I call my own personal form of ADHD. I'm not athletic by any means (I'm really lazy, actually) but I have to be moving at all times. My kids joke about how many miles I put on my rocking chair during the day. I take the term 'laptop' literally and spend my day rocking back and forth, laptop chugging away on my thighs, typing out my stories. I just bought a chiller for my computer this weekend, and it's doing wonders drawing the heat produced by my laptop away from my thighs. After long writing sessions, the term 'hot legs' took on a whole new meaning!

I love that! OK, what is your favorite movie? Did it inspire your writing in any way?

I don't necessarily have a favorite movie, though I do tend to gravitate to those made before 1960, musicals from the 40' and 50's are always good as are gangster movies from the early 30's. I DO use bits and pieces of movies as inspiration for my books - like the aforementioned Phantom. Clara Bow's "It", an old silent made in the 20's, is invaluable for both ideas and for giving me a sense of what things were like back then. I've even had a two second long visual from Michael Jackson's music video "Beat It" inspire an entire scene in one manuscript.

Thanks so much for being here today. Anything else you'd like readers to know?

Thanks so much for taking the time to learn about me and my passion for all things Twenties. If you want to follow my adventures, visit my journal here:


Marianne Arkins said...

Delia, I've read "It Takes Moxie" and it's fantastic!! I'm tickled I'll get to see Moxie again.

windycindy said...

This book sounds really great! The time period is a very interesting one. Good luck with your book! Thanks for the interview.....Cindi

Delia DeLeest said...

Thanks so much for giving me the opportunity to vist here today, Allie.

I'm so glad you like Moxie, Marianne - my husband claims she's my alter ego. I hope I'm not quite that accident prone.